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U.S.: No Plans for Troops in Yemen

February 11, 2002

SAN’A, Yemen (AP) _ The United States does not expect to deploy combat troops in Yemen to help hunt down suspected al-Qaida terrorists, but it will cooperate with the government in providing training and some assistance, the head of the U.S. military’s Central Command said Monday.

On a visit to the Yemeni capital of San’a that lasted only a few hours, Gen. Tommy Franks said he met President Ali Abdullah Saleh to discuss military and security cooperation.

``I was impressed with his view and the active approach he is taking to the problem of terrorism, both in the region and certainly here within Yemen,″ Franks told reporters in a brief news conference on the lawn of the ambassador’s residence at the heavily guarded U.S. Embassy compound.

Asked if Washington was ready to send troops to Yemen, where at least two al-Qaida suspects wanted by the United States are in hiding, Franks said: ``I don’t think at this time we have any expectation of putting U.S. combat troops here on the ground.″

He said that Saleh had not asked for U.S. combat troops, but was interested in military training and assistance in creating a coast guard.

``He has requested our assistance, within limits, to provide equipment for that purpose,″ Franks said.

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